The Story of Tan Family Fish and Pig Farm

1960s The Farm was built.
1970s The Fish Farm reached it's peak in performance.
1989 The Pig Farm sold it's last pig and was closed down.
1991 The Fish Farm had to closed down.
1999 The place was finally under redevelopment.

This fish and pig farm and the house were built by my grandfather Tan He Kang and his few children, in 1960s because the fish and pig farm did not have a name therefore I named it after my grandfather, Tan He Kang who had passed away in 1998. The farm and the house were all located in one area and were not separate. The farm address was 161-25, Jalan Ulu Sembawang.

First I would talk about the house. The house was mainly built out of wood. We had the concrete floor. It was quite a big house with one big living room, one kitchen and five bed rooms. The Living room was very big ;equal to 3 standard HDB living rooms.  In the daytime, we hardly used it because the adults would be working in the farms and kids would be out playing. The kitchen was big. It had a large concrete stove, we used wood to cook. All the furniture in the kitchen would have a bowl of water under each leg so that ants would not make nest in the furniture. Sometimes the kitchen would have  rats looking for food.  This means we had to set trap to catch them. There are two types of traps. One is the cage trap, the other is the spring trap. All rats caught would be drown. Each bedroom was equal to 2 standard HDB bedrooms. We hardly entered the bedrooms in day time. For Photographs of the House, Please visit the House Photograph Gallery.

The fish farm had 8 ponds. Although the number seems small, each pond was quite big. Some of the ponds in the farm was dug by using simple tools like spade. This means my grandfather and his sons had to dig for a few months before a pond could be form. My grandfather did not want to buy a digging machine because the machine would not be of use if the farm is being redeveloped. The ponds were dug over a period of  years. The largest was equal to the size of a football field and the smallest one was equal to the size of two HDB five room flats. The fish farm reared, imported and exported ornamental fishes like Koi, Goldfish, Arowana, Guppy, Fighting fish etc. But the main fish we reared were Koi, Arowana and Fighting Fish. Sometimes the farm reared food fish. The workers of the two farms are all family members. My father told me that my grandfather was a strict father. my father have to wake up early to feed the animals or else my grandfather would use a cane to wake him up. According to my father, the Koi exported from our farm to overseas clients were very beautiful and manage to survive the long transporting trip. The fish farm was closed down in 1991, but after the farm closed, my uncle still use some concrete ponds to rear some fishes for sale. For Photographs of the Fish Farm, Please visit the Fish Farm Photograph Gallery.

The pig farm was also built by the family members .The pig farm was very dirty, smelly and wet, therefore it was not easy to work in the pig farm. It was a low-tech pig farm so every thing have to be done manually. There was a tower in the pig farm. The staircase up to the tower was badly built. It only acted as a "scared crow" to scare away thieves. I remembered once two pigs fought and one pig was killed. We cooked it for dinner. Regularly, people would come to our farm. They would enter the pig sty and chose a fat one and put the it into a cage with the help of his assistant and our family members. The pig was then weight and the cage was then put onto the lorry. The lorry could take up to a maximum of about ten pigs. The last pig was sold by 1989 and the pig farm was closed down. For Photograph of the Pig Farm, Please visit the Pig Farm Photograph Gallery.

The farms were not fence up. The dogs in the farms helped us a lot by looking after our property.  They fed on the scrape food. They would bark or even bite, if they detected a stranger in the farm. A little movement at night would alert the dogs. They could recognize the family members. The dogs were attentive even during the day to look out for thieves despite their tiredness. 

There were a few cats in the farms. They fed on the scrape food. Unlike dogs which had to guard the farms, cats were treated as pets. They contributed nothing to the farms.

The pig farm was closed down in 1990 and the house was pulled down in 1991 .In 1992 , all pig sheds were pulled down. My relatives moved to the flats in 1991. Although my grandfather could not lived there, he converted the car shed into a shelter. My uncle would bring him there in the morning and bring him back to his flat in the evening. During the time he was there, he would sweep the floor, helped my uncle reared fishes that were for sale,  took care of the dogs, trees and cut the grass. He also built a shelter in the area that used to be the kitchen. We had supply of rambutans until 1995 when the rambutan trees bore very few fruit. The dogs grow to a large population because all the surrounding farms had already closed down. These dogs came here to have food and shelter. In 1998, my grandfather passed away. The dogs had no food for a few days and most had died. My uncle went back every day to feed the fishes and the few remaining dogs.  The place was not maintained after my grandfather passed away. The car shed shelter was burnt down. We did not know who burn it. The place was finally under development in 1999. For Photographs of the Remain, Please visit the the Remaining Photograph Gallery. It is currently located on the left side of the Gambas Ave, about 100 Metres after you pass Chong Pang Bridge if you are heading towards Admiralty or Woodlands.




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